Sports Betting Records Came Crashing Down in October

Sportsbooks’ screen. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

October will go down as the busiest month in the history of the burgeoning US-regulated sports betting industry. Several states reported record trading figures during the first full month of action in the NFL season. 

New Jersey set a new national record of $1.3 billion sports wagers in October. The Garden State broke its own record of $1.01 billion, which was set the previous month. 

Football was the most popular sport among New Jersey bettors. They wagered $449 million on NFL and college football games, and online sportsbooks held just 2.4% of that total, making it a strong month for bettors. 

Yet the sportsbooks made a killing on parlays. They took $317 million on parlays – many of them on football – and held 15%, which equated to revenue of $47.5 million.  

In total, New Jersey sportsbooks took a record $84.2 million in revenue during October. The state received $10.6 million in taxes, which is also a new record. The Meadowlands – which hosts FanDuel, the market leader in New Jersey, along with PointsBet on its master license – was out in front with revenue of $44.1 million.

New Record Handle for Pennsylvania 

Neighboring Pennsylvania also had its busiest ever month. Sportsbooks handled $776.3 million, a 26.2% increase on the previous record, which was set in January. 

However, it held just 5.4% of that total, so it did not manage to break its revenue record. Pennsylvania sportsbooks are permitted to deduct promotional costs before paying a 36% revenue tax. They issued $18.7 million in promo credits during October, which brought the revenue down from $42.3 million to $23.5 million. That left the state with $8.5 million in taxes. 

Online wagering accounted for 92% of the handle, and FanDuel was the leader with a 37.9% share. It handled $270.8 million in online wagers and earned $19.3 million in revenue. DraftKings was second with $201.7 million handles and $9.6 million in revenue. 

Sports Betting Soars in Michigan 

A dozen states reported record-breaking figures for October. Michigan is currently in third place, ahead of Indiana and Tennessee, although it is likely to drop down to fifth when Nevada and Illinois reveal their figures. 

Michigan sportsbooks took $497.6 million in wagers last month, which left it ahead of Indiana’s $461.1 million handles.  FanDuel crept back ahead of DraftKings in Michigan. It had a market share of 26.8%, while DraftKings dropped to 26%. 

What Caused the Records to Fall? 

October was a very busy month for sport. It was the first full month of the NFL season, college football was in full swing, and the NBA season began on October 19. The MLB playoffs were raging on, and the World Series started on October 27.

The fantasy sports website DraftKings. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

The NHL season got underway on October 12, and there were lots of big soccer games, along with big fights such as Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas. A quirk of the calendar also resulted in five weekends in October, so there was a lot of NFL action taking place.

Sports betting is also becoming a lot more widespread, and the sportsbooks are competing with one another by offering very lucrative bonuses, with DraftKings leading the way. 

It will be interesting to see if the November figures eclipse October. There have only been four weekends this month, and the World Series ended on November 3, but we have had a full month of NBA and NHL action, so those records could tumble once more.